10 Horror Movie Villains You Didn't Know Were Based On Real-Life Monsters

Do you like scary movies? You're in one.

Orion Pictures

Truly phenomenal horror movies take viewers on a rollercoaster of emotions. We scream at jump scares, hold our breaths along with the protagonists as they attempt to hide from the villain, and sigh with relief that it’s all over when the credits roll. However, when it comes to horror films, sometimes it's art that imitates life, rather than the other way around—and it’s absolutely terrifying. Much like a muse is to an artist, real-life monsters have served as inspiration to some of the most iconic movie villains.

Pennywise of It fame doesn’t hold a candle to John Wayne Gacy, who raped, tortured, and killed at least 33 young men, and sometimes volunteered to dress as “Pogo the Clown” at various charity events. Ravenous’ cannibal Colqhoun had nothing on Alfred Packer, the Colorado Cannibal, who ate five fellow goldminers in 1873. Real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren are responsible for the entire Conjuring Universe and 17 films in the Amityville Horror series.

Double-lock the doors and find your safety blanket. You’re about to meet the proof that sometimes real life is so much scarier than fiction.

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Hi! I'm Hannah and I know a lot about TV. Seriously. I write. I make. I build. I create. I like to throw around ideas, share amazing web finds, and tell the occasional story or two.